In-Water Testing Completed by Uncrewed Vehicle Prototype

DARPA's testing of the Manta Ray unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) off the coast of Southern California demonstrated at-sea hydrodynamic performance By Joseph Macey / 02 May 2024
Manta Ray UUV Prototype In-Water Testing
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The Manta Ray prototype uncrewed underwater vehicle (UUV), built by Northrop Grumman, has completed full-scale, in-water testing.

The testing by DARPA, carried out off the coast of Southern California in February and March 2024, demonstrated at-sea hydrodynamic performance, including submerged operations using all the unmanned underwater vehicle’s modes of propulsion and steering: buoyancy, propellers, and control surfaces.

Northrop Grumman shipped the Manta Ray prototype in subsections from the build location in Maryland to its test location in California.

DARPA program manager Dr. Kyle Woerner (right) talks with a member of the Northrop Grumman team while standing atop the Manta Ray vehicle.

Dr. Kyle Woerner, DARPA Program Manager for Manta Ray, said; “Our successful, full-scale Manta Ray testing validates the vehicle’s readiness to advance toward real-world operations after being rapidly assembled in the field from modular subsections.

“The combination of cross-country modular transportation, in-field assembly, and subsequent deployment demonstrates a first-of-kind capability for an extra-large UUV.”

Woerner added; “Shipping the vehicle directly to its intended area of operation conserves energy that the vehicle would otherwise expend during transit.

“Once deployed, the vehicle uses efficient, buoyancy-driven gliding to move through the water. The craft is designed with several payload bays of multiple sizes and types to enable a wide variety of naval mission sets.”

Manta Ray aims to develop and demonstrate a new class of long-duration, long-range, payload-capable UUVs ready for persistent operations in dynamic maritime environments. DARPA is said to be engaging with the U.S. Navy on the next steps for testing and transition of this technology.

A second Manta Ray performer, PacMar Technologies, is continuing testing of its full-scale energy harvesting system in 2024.

Posted by Joseph Macey Connect & Contact
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